When I was a teenager, I remember the popular LifeAlert television commercial featuring the line: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
Over the years, there have been quite a few jokes, parodies, and memes based on that famous catchphrase.
The phrase usually applies to those who need physical assistance. They’ve literally fallen and they can’t get up without help. With this article, I want to apply the principle to a different kind of fall — the kind of emotional or spiritual fall that people have when life itself seems to knock them down.
We’ve all experienced times when, due to circumstances, other people, or perhaps ourselves, our lives have crashed. We get tripped up and perhaps feel like we’ve crashed.
It could be a health crisis, divorce, a job loss, bankruptcy, the loss of a loved one, a major setback in our careers, trouble in school, running afoul of the law, or a host of similar examples.
When our lives go off the rails, we often find ourselves in a situation where we need help. We simply cannot get back on track without some person, maybe a group of persons, helping us out.
Given my line of work, I’m often someone that people in that situation will turn to for help. Indeed, even before getting into the ministry, I found myself regularly trying to help and encourage people in need.
And thus I have enough experience to offer the following truism.
There is a difference between “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” versus “I’ve fallen and I won’t get up.”
If you’re in the first camp, it’s my hope and prayer that you will get the support, encouragement, and assistance you need to get back on track. But if you’re in the latter camp, I need to drop some “tough love” truth here.
If you’re an adult, then apart from severe mental incapacity…
YOU are responsible for your emotional, spiritual, and mental health as well as your economic livelihood.
You cannot outsource responsibility for your life to other entities.
You must EMBRACE personal responsibility.
And when you fall down, do what you need to do to get back up and get back on track with your life.
Don’t wallow in self-pity or despair.
Get back up!
You may need to head to the bench (to use a football analogy) or to your corner (for a bit) to get some water, shake off the pain, and get your mind back in the game.
You may need to recalibrate some things. You may need to refocus. You may need to learn some new skills or seek out some additional wisdom. But don’t give up on life.
When life knocks you down, get back up!
It’s frustrating and heartbreaking to see people stuck in a cycle of defeat, discouragement, and despair. To see people who have surrendered to addictions and/or who have chosen to wallow in self-pity and failure.
I know and fully understand different people have different challenges and that all of us (to varying degrees) have been hurt by others. In many cases, some of us have been hurt deeply.
I get it. I do.
But here’s a dose of reality…
Life is tough, and it’s not always fair.
No government policy or edict will change that.
If you’re in a pit, it doesn’t ultimately matter whether you slipped and fell in that pit on your own OR if someone pushed you.
YOU’RE STILL IN THE PIT!
What are you going to DO to get OUT of the pit?
As Will Smith has said (speaking of those who hurt us):
Fault and responsibility do not go together, it sucks. When something is somebody’s fault, we want them to suffer, we want them punished, we want them to pay, we want it to be their responsibility to fix it, but that’s not how it works.
Yes, life can be hard and people can be unfair, but put down the excuses, the blame, and the bitterness.
Deal with the hand you’ve been given. Make the best of it.
In the words of Brian Tracy:
It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.
Don’t compare yourself to others or point the finger at others. Don’t surrender to envy or blame. Understand where you are, where you want to go, and then make plans on how to get there.
Run your race.
And if you are unable to “get up” and “get back on track” (as far as your life is concerned) on your own health and strength and with the resources you have available, then you are responsible for seeking out and receiving the help that you need.
There is no shame in getting help when you need it.
Take responsibility for your life and do what you need to do to learn from the past and forge a better future for yourself.
Remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:
In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.